- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 2, 2018

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The Kona Historical Society said the young donkey that lived on the Kona Coffee Living History Farm has been killed by an apparent stray bullet fired from a nearby property.

Dance Aoki, interim development director of the society, said the donkey named Mele was killed Saturday afternoon. Aoki said the bullet struck the donkey in the torso. She died before staff found her.

A police investigation determined that a “party” was shooting at wild chickens on their property when one of the bullets hit the donkey, said Major Robert Wagner. He said police are forming a case of reckless endangering.

Reckless endangering can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony “depending on the severity” of the endangerment, Wagner said.

He added that criminal proceedings have been initiated and the case is likely to end up referred to the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, where official charges and penalties will be determined.

Aoki said the pasture is in the general vicinity of farm structures where employees work and where visitors, including school children, often come to learn about historical coffee farming practices on the island.

The farm was closed at the time of the incident, she said.

The society brought Mele, who was a little more than a year old, to the farm about one year ago as part of an effort to find a social companion for the farm’s aging nightingale, Charlie, now 31 years of age.

“It was a two-yearlong campaign that we wanted to do for Charlie,” Aoki said. “He’s getting up in years and donkeys are pack animals, so the campaign to get Charlie a companion was a really special one for the community.”

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